The Merrow Gates are a pair of early 18th century painted and gilded wrought iron gates with cast iron and repousé decorative elements, the gates and flanking panels are set between twin gate lodges, built by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The gates were originally part of the impressive main entrance to Clandon House built for the Earl of Onslow in the 1730s.
Overall the gates were found to be sound and stable, but had some heavy corrosion and damage in places as a result of water ingress. Many of the decorative elements especially the waterleaves had suffered corrosion.
Several layers of paint were found on the gates, showing different colours through separate applications. Most of the painted surface was stable. Where the metalwork had corroded, paint loss had occurred. About one third of the guided surface was in good condition, with the rest chipping or lost.
Treatment: The biological growth was removed using soft brushes and water. Rust and corrosion were removed using tools. The surfaces were prepared by using sandpaper and files. All loose decorative elements were carefully removed.
The surface was then primed in either dark grey, or in areas where new gold leaf was to be applied in a rich yellow primer. Loose and corroded waterleaves and profiled collars were either repaired or in some cases remade in our workshop using a template taken on site. They were then gas welded on site using pure iron filter rods creating a perfect match with the existing surrounding work.
The job was a particular pleasure for our blacksmith, Joe Coombe-Jackman. “No one makes impressive gates like these anymore and to be part of their conservation was a fantastic opportunity for any blacksmith. I loved working on this project because the original gates were of such quality and the standard of workmanship was so high. When we finished the job, it was very hard to tell which were original leaves and which were the repair. I’m really proud of our work on the Marrow Gates.”
Clandon House is a National Trust property.